old (2008), Uncategorized

hearing the click

When I first started going to meetings, people would talk about how — eventually — it would all make sense, if I just did what I was supposed to do: don’t drink, go to meetings, and get a sponsor. And to that I would add: be honest, ask for help, and resist the urge to isolate. Over the past ten months, I’ve come to believe what the big book says at the end of the 11th step: It works. It really does. I don’t know how or why, but if I keep up my end of the bargain, I do find relief and grace enters my life.

I don’t know what happened in the meeting tonight, but at some point during the lead, something clicked on (or off), and I knew in that very instant that I was done holding on to all of my pain and misery, and that I was giving it over to God. And I know that’s a ridiculous thing for an atheist to say — that God is doing anything — but it’s a short-hand way to say “I’m releasing this into the universe, and there is enough love and compassion and grace to go around that I’m going to be okay, even if I don’t hold on. And I know, in fact, that I never will be okay UNLESS I let go.” (“God” is also short-hand for a bunch of other things, but in this context, that’s the explanation.)

The truth of the matter is that I have a choice to make, and I will only be as unhappy and miserable and sad as I am unwilling to let go and take the steps I know I need to take in order to find happiness and peace and serenity. Just as expectations are inversely proportional to serenity, my pain (and disappointment and frustration) is inversely proportional to my surrender.

In some ways, I’m back to where I was ten months ago: following The No Contact Rule and the 10 Commandments of Breaking Up, as well as getting active and starting to participate in doing the things I want (and need) to do. But in other ways, I’m infinitely ahead of where I was then: it took me 24 hours (and not months) to read the writing on the wall. I was not abused, either physically or emotionally, before I realized things were probably not healthy. I have a support network, and a built-in social club filled with people who love me, as opposed to strained relationships with people who are tired of hearing my crap. I have peace of mind, self-respect, dignity, and sobriety. Also: I’ve got the entire second season of Sex and the City (and Shopgirl) on DVD, which means I don’t even have to leave my house to be reminded that I’m not alone.

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